Q&A with Randy Harvey
The Sun's sports editor answers readers' questions about Rafael Palmeiro's steroid suspension
John, Towson: I was at yesterday's game from the time the gates opened. Even though the stands were buzzing, not one word was said about Palmeiro's suspension. They even touted a Raffy poster giveaway. People who hadn't heard wondered why he was being rested. I'm also on the Orioles E-mail list. To date I've received three run-of-the-mill E-mails, promoting various products and events. Don't you think they should make some sort of official acknowledgement about what's going on?
Randy Harvey: Absolutely.
J. Aquilla, Delaware: Will this keep him out of the Hall of Fame?
Randy Harvey: Yes, unless he is more forthcoming than what he has been so far. His responses to this point have been vague, creating even more suspicion about him and his numbers.
Brian, Baltimore: Are players randomly tested for steroids, or are teams randomly tested - meaning that all the Orioles were tested at about the same time?
Randy Harvey: All players are tested randomly at some point during the season. Some are tested more than once, again randomly. Not all team members are tested at the same time.
Steve, Fox Island, Wash.: Since all this Raffy-related positive testing and appeals probably started weeks ago maybe even a month ago, isn't it possible that the news was out in the Oriole clubhouse in rumor or fact and that this may have lead to the absolute collapse in morale and playing concentration of the club? The collapse has been so absolute and deflating almost as if they may have fallen from their own spirit or belief. They knew about Raffy, say it isn't so?!
Randy Harvey: That's a good question. But the Oriole players seemed sincerely shocked when they heard the news after the game. We believe now that Oriole management wasn't told until Friday and that Lee Mazzilli might not have known until yesterday.
Tim, Baltimore: Do we know or will we ever find out when the O's knew about the failed test? Could it simply be coincidence that the team began its tailspin in early July and then attempts to sign Phil Nevin?
Randy Harvey: Another good question. We asked the same thing yesterday and were told that the Orioles weren't aware until Friday that they might be without their starting first baseman for awhile. But the timing of the proposed Nevin trade makes sense. It certainly makes us wonder.
Larry, Orlando: I suspect very few over-the-counter supplements contain steroids. Am I wrong? Also, did MLB supply all the players with a detailed list to reduce the chance that someone could "accidently take a banned substance."
Randy Harvey: You are correct. Few substances contain steroids and most of those that do advise on the bottle that the user might test positive for a steroid. The players have a ready list. There is no excuse for making a mistake with a supplement.
Lesley, Dundalk: I'm a big Raffy fan but have to say a lot of the statistical evidence makes me uneasy -- the only HR champ to have also led the league in singles; 1 HR his 1st 100 ABs this year, 18 since then, etc. etc. etc. Is he stupid, or are we?
Randy Harvey: I'm afraid we have been. He made fools of all of us who wanted to believe in him.
Barb, Plano, Texas: I want to know exactly what Raffy took and when he took it. If it was residual from years ago or what. I'm greatly disappointed in him as he was a fave of mine for the 10 years he played for the Texas Rangers.
Randy Harvey: That's what we all want to know. Palmeiro is hiding behind a pledge of confidientality that is designed to protect him. It's doing the opposite.
Hetty, Reisterstown: If a list of substances being used by a player is known by the training staff, wouldn't Rafael have been informed which of them could be an issue, such as a cream or anything else applied externally? How could someone "unknowingly" use a banned substance?
Randy Harvey: Good question. It's been known to happen but never to an athlete of his intelligence and sophistication.
Everett, Brandon, Mo.: Realistically, can steroids be included in vitamins, food supplement, etc., or could this be a case where medically a steroid shot was given to Raffy due to sinus infection, etc.?
Randy Harvey: The problem is that we don't know the details. Until he tells us more, we can't even reasonably speculate about how a steroid got into his system.
Eric, Carlisle, Pa.: Why is everyone treating Raffy like a murderer? At most, he probably took some sort of "health food" supplement that any of us can buy over the counter. If it contained a banned substance, he should absolutely be punished. However, I think people are taking this a little too far.
Randy Harvey: He cheated. It's that simple. Whether he knew he was using steroids or not, he gained an unfair advantage over his competition.
Shigeru Muto, Osaka, Japan: Why his penalty is only 10 days? He should be disqualified from MLB. If I did what he said and done, I would be out of work in the real world. Don't you think MLB must be straighten MLB it self? MLB is big here in Japan since Nomo. But I am just seeing the down side of MLB lately.
Randy Harvey: You're absolutely correct. That is why the U.S. Congress is likely to step in and enforce tougher steroid penalties in all U.S. pro sports.